A Few Plain Rules for Preachers

The following which we clipped several years ago, and put in our Scrap-book, is as applicable now as then, and may be useful to a good many preachers, and will do none of them any harm to observe.

  1. Be very sure to understand the text yourself, before you attempt to make others understand it.
  2. Be animated—be emphatic. Convince your hearers that you are in earnest; but do not insult their judgments by extravagant appeals to the passions without enlightening their minds.
  3. Remember you are placed in the pulpit to teach. Study, therefore, your subject thoroughly, and do not follow—right or wrong—stale commentators. Think for yourself, and when you have new thoughts, communicate them, even if they do tread a little upon the toes of other expositors. At the same time a preacher should not aim to be original, merely for the sake of it.
  4. Approach your subject at one, and be short.
  5. Study to be eloquent—if you have powers of oratory, improve them. But let theatrical affectation be banished from the place.

J. R. H.*

[*John R. Howard, editor of the Christian Pioneer, the periodical in which these rules are published (vol. 1 no. 2, July 1861), MIce]

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